Beto O’Rourke takes in record haul. TRANSCRIPT: 3/18/19, The Rachel Maddow Show.
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SEN. KIRSTEN GILLIBRAND (D-NY), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Thank you.
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: We will be back tomorrow night at 8:00 p.m.
“THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW” starts right now.
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: Thanks to you at home for joining us this hour.
It`s nice to have you with us tonight. Happy Monday.
All right. We start tonight with Ralph Wilson. Who? Ralph Wilson grew up
in Detroit. If you know the name Ralph Wilson, you do not associate with
him with the city of Detroit because Ralph Wilson is famous for having
founded the Buffalo Bills.
Legendary players like Jim Kelly and O.J. Simpson and Jack Kemp played for
the Buffalo Bills on Ralph Wilson`s watch. When Ralph Wilson died in 2014
at the age of 95, he had owned that team for 54 years. The iconic NFL team
came up for sale for the first time ever only when Ralph Wilson died in
2014 after owning it for 54 years.
That iconic NFL team came up for sale for the first time ever only when
Ralph Wilson in 2014 after owning it for 54 years. But that team was for
sale in 2014, and a motley crew lined up to try and buy the team. Not
Motley Crue the band, but rather a motley crew.
A food service mogul, a natural gas billionaire, a bond investor from Santa
Monica, the person who owned Pabst Blue Ribbon, also Jon Bon Jovi who is
Jon Bon Jovi, also Donald Trump, who you know from other contexts. All of
these folks were lining up to try to buy the Bills.
It had never been on the market before. NFL teams never come on the
market, anyway. But the Bills in particular owned by one guy for more than
a half century.
When that team came up in 2014, the whole thing was always going to be like
a rich guy`s street brawl. It got particularly nasty between Donald Trump
and Jon Bon Jovi. Rumors started circulating around Buffalo if Jon Bon
Jovi got the team, he was planning to move the bills to Canada. What?
That was not true. But the rumors didn`t derive from anything true that
had been misconstrued. All those rumors were ginned up by a long time
Republican political operative named Michael Caputo, who has ties to Roger
Stone and Paul Manafort. That is the guy who Trump sent in to Buffalo to
try to knee cap Jon Bon Jovi, so he can outmaneuver him and he could buy
the Buffalo Bills.
In the end, none of those rumor stuff mattered, none of those dirty tricks
mattered. Mr. Bon Jovi and Mr. Trump both lost out to the natural gas
billionaire who was the one who ended up buying the bills and did keep the
team in Buffalo. And that might have been the end of it.
You know, Trump lost. Dirt tricks didn`t work, didn`t get there anyway.
Story over. Except now that story is back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. WILLIAM LACY CLAY (D-MO), OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE: Did this information
provided to us inflate the president`s assets?
MICHAEL COHEN, FORMER TRUMP LAWYER: I believe these numbers are inflated.
CLAY: And, of course, inviting – inflating assets the way the newspaper
polls to boost your ego is not a crime, but to your knowledge, did the
president ever provide inflated assets to a bank in order to help him
obtain a loan?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The gentleman`s time has expired, but you may answer
COHEN: These documents and others were provided to Deutsche Bank in one
occasion where I was with him in our attempt to obtain money so that we
could put a bid on the Buffalo Bills.
CLAY: Thank you for your answer.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Michael Cohen testifying before Congress and hearing in that
testimony that the future president, Donald Trump, may have lied in a
financial statement about the size of his assets to try to get a bank loan
to buy the Buffalo Bills. I mean, it`s obviously embarrassing, right, for
the president, especially because he didn`t end up being able to buy the
Buffalo Bills, but it also is potentially important legally, right? If he
did provide financial statements to a bank for purposes of trying to
defraud the bank, trying to persuade that bank to give him a loan with
false representations about his abilities to pay it back, I mean, that is
the kind of thing that prosecutors call bank fraud. That`s part of what
Michael Cohen and Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort are going to prison
Last week, New York Attorney General Letitia James issued subpoenas to two
banks, including the president`s long time lender, Deutsche Bank, citing
testimony from Michael Cohen about Trump`s inflated assets. Those
subpoenas sought loan applications, mortgages, lines of credit and other
financing transactions in connection with the Trump International Hotel in
D.C., the Trump National Doral outside Miami and the Trump International
Hotel and Tower in Chicago, also that weird, failed effort to buy the
Buffalo Bills with what the president`s lawyer says was an inflated asset
Well, tonight, “The New York Times” has new reporting in this big 4,000-
word article they just posted tonight. “The New York Times” just posted
new reporting that suggests a surprise twist in that already weird story,
because if President Trump was inflating his assets in his financial
statements to make himself appear richer than he was, so as to persuade
this bank to make him a large loan, I mean, in theory at least, you expect
the bank to be mad about that, right? And what Cohen is alleging, and what
the New York attorney general appears to be investigating is Trump lying in
order to convince the bank that they should make him a loan that they
otherwise wouldn`t make him if he told them the truth about how much money
and how many assets he actually had.
Well, now, the surprise twist tonight reported in “The New York Times” is
that apparently Deutsche Bank didn`t mind. At least they didn`t mind that
much. According to this reporting to “The Times” tonight, Deutsche Bank
knew what he was doing in that Buffalo Bills scam and they were sort of
cool with it.
Quote, in the early – excuse me, in early 2014, Mr. Trump and his personal
lawyer, Michael Cohen approached Deutsche Bank executive Rosemary Vrablic
about more potential loans. The owner of the Buffalo Bills had died and
the NFL franchise was up for sale. Mr. Trump was interested and need to
show the NFL that he had the financial wherewithal to pull off a
transaction that could top a billion dollars. Mr. Trump asked Ms. Vrablic
at Deutsche Bank if the bank would be willing to make a loan and he handed
over bare bones financial statements that estimated his net worth at $8.7
Michael Cohen testified to Congress last month that the documents
exaggerated Trump`s wealth. Deutsche Bank executives had reached a similar
conclusion. Meaning, they also concluded that Trump was exaggerating his
wealth in this loan application. Nevertheless, they agreed to vouch for
Mr. Trump`s bid for the Buffalo Bills, according to an executive involved.
So, they said, yes, he`s good for the money? I mean, what`s being reported
tonight in “The Times” is that Deutsche Bank knew Trump was lying about
whether he could afford a billion dollar loan to buy the Buffalo Bills or
at least they came to the conclusion that he was lying in the financial
statements he submitted in support of that loan. He materially
misrepresented his wealth and his assets and his ability to repay the loan,
but, eh, they decided to do it anyway.
What? Who else gets to live in that world? Where do I sign up for that?
I mean, is – I mean, first of all, what explains that? Is that just the
way that banks operate? It would seem like it wouldn`t be or they wouldn`t
be able to stay banks for too long.
There`s also the question of the potential criminal investigations here,
right? I mean, this Buffalo Bills transaction is reportedly the subject
of a subpoena from the New York attorney general to this bank. The bank
says it`s cooperating with all relevant investigations. Is bank fraud
still bank fraud if the bank is in on it, if they know that the person to
whom they`re going to get this loan is lying to them about their ability to
pay that loan back?
If the bank is in on this, why would they do it? It`s very strange. I
mean, we really don`t know what was going on between Deutsche Bank and
Donald Trump in that transaction, but also over the course of their long
relationship when every other bank on Wall Street had sworn him off, but
Deutsche Bank kept shoveling him money. With Deutsche Bank and Trump,
something was weird, something didn`t make sense in pure financial terms.
I mean, going along with the loan, they know he was lying about is weird.
“The Times” reports tonight that in another loan they considered for Trump
early on, they discovered that somebody had forged the signature of a
credit officer who supposedly approved a deal that was going to be worth
hundreds of millions of dollars to Trump. That`s a little bit of a red
Trump defaulted on his deals with Deutsche Bank. He lied to Deutsche Bank
and they knew it. He sued Deutsche Bank to avoid paying back loans that he
had taken from them. He took money for one part of the bank and used it to
pay off another part of the bank.
At least one banker who did multiple deals with Trump was fired for the
bank apparently for misconduct. But somehow, they kept managing to shove
more money his way, well over $2 billion in total. And now that the
relationship is under investigation by the Intelligence Committee and the
Financial Services Committee and by the New York attorney general, that
executive who Trump worked with most closely at that bank for years,
Rosemary Vrablic, she now according to “The Times” tonight said she expects
to be called to testify publicly on Capitol Hill about her dealings with
Trump, presumably and her bank`s dealings with Trump. That`s according to
people familiar with her thinking.
So, we will have more on this story late or this hour. This one does seem
to be sort of cracking open. The Deutsche Bank-Trump relationship has been
sort of a flashing red light from the very, very beginning. All of these
investigations around Trump and this administration all eventually turn
into “follow the money” investigations. Almost all of the follow the money
investigations seem to find their way back to Deutsche Bank one way or the
Tonight, “The New York Times” posted a 4,000 plus-word opus on Trump`s
relationship with the bank that has a ton of new stuff on it. So, again,
as I say, we will have more on that coming up. But in general, this is not
the only thing that has been churning over the course of the day. In
general, today is turning out to be a busy day on the lie down with dogs,
get up with fleas beat when it comes to this administration.
And some of stuff is still spinning out from the Paul Manafort case, even
as the president`s campaign chairman Paul Manafort is slated to be starting
his seven-plus years in federal prison. Not only is Manafort now facing
New York state charges in addition to his federal time, but when it comes
to other things that are deriving from the Manafort investigation, the bell
is starting to toll for other people and other entities who may have been
involved in some of the stuff that Manafort is going to jail for. There
was a moment in Manafort`s federal sentencing last week when now looking
back at it, you can sort of see that the judge who sentenced him was teeing
this up pretty clearly.
I didn`t feel until today like I knew what exactly the judge was getting at
this sort of point where the judge launched into this tirade during his
sentencing hearing, but today`s news makes it pretty clear. So, this was -
- this one bit from the transcript. This is when Manafort was in court
last week before Judge Amy Berman Jackson, this was Manafort`s second
federal sentencing last week and at one point, right before she hands him
down his sentence, just talking to him about his crimes and the seriousness
of his crimes, she says this.
Judge Amy Berman Jackson, quote: Lobbying is not illegal. Being paid to do
it even on behalf of client who is others might view as unseemly or odious
or even tyrannical is not illegal. If you follow the laws that govern
foreign financial transactions and pay your taxes, it`s not illegal. It`s
OK to say members of Congress, the government of the Ukraine, President
Viktor Yanukovych, would like you to consider the following when you
consider how to respond to his actions and when you determine what the
foreign policy of the United States should be.
But what you were doing, Mr. Manafort, was lying to members of Congress and
the American public saying, look at this nice American PR firm, look at
this nice U.S.-based law firm, look at this nice group of prominent former
European officials, isn`t it great how they`ve all voluntarily stepped
forward to stand up for Yanukovych and the new Ukraine administration, when
all along, you were hiding that you and the Ukrainians actually had them on
This deliberate effort to obscure the facts, this disregard for truth
undermines our political discourse and infects our policymaking. If the
people do not have the facts, democracy can`t work. That was the judge in
Manafort`s case just a few days ago reaming him out about the seriousness
of his crimes and how what he did with this illegal lobbying stuff was not,
quote, just a failure to comport with some pesky regulations, but it was
actually serious and a damaging thing for our democracy.
But now, it`s sort of becomes even more clear in hindsight, because the way
she is reaming Manafort out there, you know, what she moments later sends
him to prison for is a type of crime that Manafort didn`t commit alone.
That does appear to have involved other people and other entities, and the
question remains as to whether they`re going to get in trouble too just
like Paul Manafort is. I mean, the judge says and that tirade before the
sentence, she says that Manafort`s criminal scheme involved a, quote, nice
American PR firm, a nice U.S.-based law firm who are supposedly voluntarily
stepping forward to make a case for Manafort pro-Russian-Ukrainian clients.
I mean, in this illegal lobbying scheme run by Manafort that he`s going to
prison for it, it was actually two nice American PR firms and one U.S.-
based law firm who participated in Manafort`s crimes as they are described
by prosecutors. The special counsel`s office has reportedly looked into
both of the PR firms and into the law firm and as reportedly made some sort
of referral to federal prosecutors in New York, for potential prosecution
for those firms for their role in what Manafort did. Well, according to
another story in “The New York Times” today from Ken Vogel and Katie
Benner, federal prosecutors were asking witnesses questions about the two
PR firms who worked with Manafort as recently as a few weeks ago, as
recently as January of this year. We don`t yet know if they are going to
be charged, but prosecutors have been actively interested in them as
recently as a few weeks ago. That`s the PR firms.
The law firm that was involved with Manafort is a very rich, very
influential law firm called Skadden Arps. Skadden Arps, you might
remember, they entered into an official non-prosecution agreement with the
Justice Department in January in which they admitted wrong-doing and they
agreed to pay back millions of dollars in ill-gotten gains from this
criminal scheme they were involved in with Manafort.
But again, it`s a non-prosecution agreement in exchange for them paying all
that money and agreeing to train their staff and admit their wrongdoing and
all this stuff. SDNY said – excuse me, the Justice Department said they
would not prosecute them. But the lead partner who worked on this Manafort
case, the guy who worked on this scheme for which Manafort is now going to
prison, of which the law firm he used to work out had entered into a non-
prosecution agreement with prosecutors, that lead partner himself isn`t
covered by the non-prosecution agreement because he left the firm last
And he is now out there on his own and he would be a very unusual fish to
be caught in this net of scandal surrounding this president and this
administration and this president`s campaign, because that lawyer who is
out on his own on this, his name is Gregory Craig. And he is a Democrat
and he was the first White House counsel under President Obama during
President Obama`s first year in office in 2009.
After Mueller referred these cases against the PR firms and the law firm
for potential prosecution to SDNY, it`s interesting, “The New York Times”
report that is the case involving the lawyer, Gregory Craig, it got
transferred in January from federal prosecutors in New York to prosecutors
So, it all starts with Mueller. Mueller refers it for potential
prosecution to SDNY. SDNY keeps a hold for the potential referral to
prosecution for the PR firms. They enter into a non-profit, the Justice
Department enters into a non-prosecution agreement with the law firm, but
when it comes to Gregory Craig, when it comes to him, Obama`s former White
House counsel, that has apparently been handed to other prosecutors in
Washington. And I don`t know if that`s the U.S. attorney`s office in D.C.
or potentially prosecutors working out of Maine Justice at the National
Security Division or somewhere else.
But according to people familiar with the case, “The Times” reports tonight
that prosecutors are, quote, moving quickly towards a decision about an
indictment of Gregory Craig. Quote: A decision about whether to prosecute
Mr. Craig is expected in coming weeks.
And on top of all of that, “ProPublica” today broke this scoop. They
obtained a sealed search warrant that was reportedly executed last summer
against a man named Elliott Broidy. Elliott Brody was a major Trump fund-
raiser until last year he was the deputy finance chair of the RNC, just
like Michael Cohen. According to “ProPublica” today, the search warrant
they obtained shows that federal authorities executed a raid on Elliott
Broidy`s Los Angeles office in July of last year.
There was all that Kerfuffle over Michael Cohen having his office raided in
April of last year. It turns out Elliott Broidy had his office raided by
the FBI just a few weeks later. According to the reported search warrant,
quote, agents were authorized to use Broidy`s hands and face to unlock any
phones that required fingerprint or facial scans.
How does that even work? Sir, will you use your face to unlock this phone?
No, I will not use my face to unlock this phone.
Sir, we have a court order to allow us to use your face. You can`t use my
face. Sir, we are using your face.
How does that – search warrant authorized them to use his hands and face.
The search warrant also reportedly cited three potential crimes that
authorities were investigating by executing that raid, quote, conspiracy,
money laundering and violations of the law barring covert lobbying on
behalf of foreign officials like Paul Manafort. According to “ProPublica”
today, the search warrant authorized federal agents to seize documents from
Broidy related to a whole bunch of different foreign countries including
Malaysia, United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Saudi Arabia. Agents were also
authorized to seize documents from his office that related to a man named
George Nader is believed to be a cooperating witness in the Mueller
investigation. He was the first person who was reported to have been
granted in immunity in exchange for his help to Mueller. Agents were also
authorized to seize material related to the man who is increasingly
becoming the star of the show, Rick Gates.
President Trump`s deputy campaign chairman, he, of course, is also
cooperating with the special counsel`s office. His cooperation deal was
just extended on Friday for another two months, because prosecutors say
they are still working with Gates. They are still extracting more
cooperation from him that is helping them with multiple ongoing
investigations. Now – even though now it is more than a year since he
So, we are used to thinking about people who are caught up in the mess
surrounding this president and this administration as being – I don`t – I
do not mean this to be rude. I don`t mean this in a personally minimizing
way, but we are used to thinking the people who are caught up with all of
this mishegoss around the president as sort of Trump world characters? Is
that a fairway to say it? Just like people who could only exist in his
orbit, right? People who would otherwise certainly never be national news
for any other reason were it not for Donald Trump and his unlikely rise to
I mean, people like Allen Weisselberg, right? This Trump Organization CFO
and accountant, who has ended up being a central character in some of these
investigation, or Michael Cohen himself. He was a taxi medallion guy who
was misreporting his taxable income on second hand handbag sales.
And Donald Trump Jr. and Jared Kushner – all these other people sort of
arrived in Trump`s clown car with him, but now, this is no longer a
contained epidemic. Now, this exposure is wider spread. So, now, here`s
Deutsche Bank, this mammoth German headquartered bank with a reputation for
Russian money laundering and financial misconduct and inexplicable
miscalculations of risk, now, Deutsche Bank`s most Trump-adjacent executive
is expecting to be publicly testifying in Congress. The Bank is
cooperating with congressional investigations and they are fielding
subpoenas from multiple law enforcement entities.
And the insurance giant Aon, which brokered multiple insurance policies for
Trump, even as his long time personal lawyer says he was committing
insurance fraud in his applications for those policies. They too were
A major law firm has entered into a formal non-prosecution agreement with
the Justice Department for its illegal dealings with Trump`s campaign
chairman. One of its senior partners, a former senior Obama White House
official, will know within a couple of weeks whether he himself was being
criminally charged for his alleged involvement in that scheme with
Two major, rich and influential PR firms in D.C. are facing that same
prospect, having reportedly being referred for prosecution by the special
counsel`s office to prosecutors and SDNY. One of those firms has already
dissolved under the pressure that all this scrutiny has brought.
Even the national Republican Party, right? I mean, the National Republican
Party as an institution, they chose a new finance chair and two deputy
finance chair to serve them in the Trump era. All three of them have now
had to step down from their posts. One of them is on his way to prison,
one of them we now know is subpoenaed for information about the other who
we just learned today was also raided last summer by the FBI.
And so, and now, tonight, it`s time to have a conversation with Congressman
Jerry Nadler of New York, the chairman of the Judiciary Committee, because
on top of all those proceedings in this president`s orbit, in the legal
arena, Chairman Nadler says today that in addition all that stuff going in
courtrooms and in prosecutors` offices around the country, Chairman Nadler
says today that in response to multiple document requests that were sent
out by him and his committee two weeks ago, he says tonight that he has
already obtained tens of thousands of pages of documents for his
committee`s multiple investigations of the president and his campaign and
his administration, including thousands of pages from a surprising source.
And that`s next.
MADDOW: Two weeks ago, he and his committee sent out document requests to
81 people and entities from – starts with “A”, Alan Garten, the Trump
Organization lawyer, to starts with “W”, WikiLeaks, and lots and lots and
lots of people in between.
The deadline to responding to those document requests is today. The Office
of House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler tonight says that they
have received already, in response to these document requests, tens of
thousands of documents.
Joining us now is Chairman Nadler, who`s here in the studio with us
Sir, thank you for being here. It`s nice to see you.
REP. JERRY NADLER (D-NY), CHAIRMAN, HOUSE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: It`s a
MADDOW: So tens of thousands of documents, sounds like a lot. I want to
ask how that comports with your expectations as what you thought you`d get
NADLER: Well, we didn`t really know what we thought we`d get by now. We
said today is the deadline to communicate with us. So, we`re getting –
we`re encouraged – I`m encouraged by how much information we`re getting,
how many people are responding. A lot of people responded, a lot of
entities have responded.
Some have said that they`re going to, that they want to work with us. Some
have said they will respond if we give them a subpoena, and we`ve gotten
responses from surprising people like, for instance Steve Bannon, who sent
us a few thousand documents. So, we`re encouraged, but we`re going to have
to analyze all of this obviously and we go from here.
MADDOW: Steve Bannon sent you several thousand documents?
NADLER: That`s what my staff tells me.
In terms of people saying so far they`re not going to respond or that
they`re giving a hard time about what you have asked for, there was a
report tonight that the president`s lawyers – the president`s personal
lawyers plan on sending you nothing. “The Daily Beast” reported today that
the president`s personal legal team informed the committee that they won`t
be sending anything over.
Is that a – is that likely to turn into some sort of standoff? Can you
update us on that?
NADLER: It`s certainly possible. I don`t know yet. We will be talking to
people to see if we can reach accommodations with them.
But ultimately, people have to respond to us, unless the president
personally invokes an executive privilege, which is a rare thing. They
have to immunity. They have to respond to us.
Of course, the White House and executive department generally has been
stone-walling the Judiciary Committee, not just on these respect – on
these documents, but they`ve been stonewalling generally. They`ve been
doing everything they can to have witnesses say, I won`t talk to you about
the conversation with the president, I won`t talk about that, without
asserting executive privilege. And they have no right to do that.
MADDOW: You have said in the past that upon ascending to the chairmanship
of your committee, that you did not intend to issue any subpoenas without
consulting with minority, without trying to work that out so that there was
agreement between the Democrats and Republicans on who ought to be
In terms of these document requests, some people haven`t responded, people
you think might not respond, do you anticipate that Republicans will be
willing to sign off on subpoenas with you?
NADLER: I don`t know, but they don`t have to sign off. What I pledged was
that if they objected, we would hold a vote on the committee. And we did
that once for the Whitaker subpoena. But hopefully they will cooperate in
what is a very legitimate inquest by the committee on work we have to do.
We have to get to the bottom, on behalf of the American people, of all the
allegations and suspicions of public corruption, of abuses of power, of
obstruction of justice, because we must defend the rule of law. That is
our job. And this president has posed a lot of challenges to the rule of
law, and we cannot permit that to go on.
MADDOW: You`re at a point where you are raking in a ton of material. As
you say, tens of thousands of documents already, thousands of documents of
Steve Bannon alone. I asked you before whether you feel like you are
adequately staffed to be able to handle this material. I mean, this is
multiple lines of inquiry. This is not a president in your words who is,
you know, suspected of doing one thing that needs to be looked into.
There`s a number of things that you want to look at.
How are you – how are you approaching that in terms of just getting the
NADLER: Well, we`ll see how that goes when we review all these documents.
NADLER: I think with modern computer technology and our staff, we can do a
lot of work. If we need more staff, we`ll ask for it.
But I`m not terribly concerned about that right now. I am terribly
concerned about doing the job we must do for the America people and I`m
concerned about, obviously, what`s going to happen with the Mueller report.
Now, we can`t wait for the Mueller report. We don`t know when it`s going
to come out. We don`t know how broad it`s going to be. We don`t know if
the attorney general is going to permit the American people to see the
Mueller report. We will do everything in our power, including if
necessary, subpoenaing it to see that they do, but that the American people
But our work is broader than Mueller, anyway. Mueller is looking at crimes
only. He`s a prosecutor. He`s looking at crimes and he`s looking at the
issue of Russian interference in the last election, and of any obstruction
of justice in connection with that.
We have a much broader mandate, an obstruction of justice generally, abuses
of power. When the president attacks the free press, when he attacks the
judiciary, when he attacks our law enforcement agencies, when he attacks
the structures on which our Democratic government depends, that is a real
problem. So, we can`t wait for Mueller and we can`t depend on that.
And in a particular, in particular, the Justice Department has said, and
Attorney General Barr has said that whatever Mueller reports, they will
make what they can public, but they will not make – he said it`s their
policy, the policy of the Justice Department not to make public evidence
about someone they have chosen not to indict. That`s fine when you have
chosen not to indict somebody because you don`t have enough evidence.
But when you can`t indict somebody or believe you can`t, because the
Justice Department takes the position that the law prohibits the indictment
of a sitting president, that means that they have taken themselves out of
the business of holding the president accountable, and then to deny
Congress and the American people information or evidence about the
president, then it might hamstring Congress from doing its job of holding
the president accountable.
And if the Justice Department won`t do it, and the Congress can`t or won`t
do it, then the president is above the law, and that is absolutely
undemocratic and it`s subversive of our form of government. So, we cannot
perform that. We cannot permit and that`s why we will do whatever we have
to do to make sure that the Mueller report and the evidence underlying the
Mueller report is made public.
MADDOW: And you believe you have the tools to do that even if the Justice
Department under William Barr decides that they`d rather keep it –
NADLER: I believe we have the tools to do that. I believe that the fact
of the matter is that this Justice Department gave the Judiciary Committee
under Republican control last year, 880,000 pages of documents, which
normally about people working in the FBI, et cetera, on the Hillary Clinton
investigation, on the beginning of the Mueller probe, they made – they
gave it to the Congress. And they`re going to have to live by that
MADDOW: Congressman Jerry Nadler of the Judiciary Committee – again,
document request out to 81 different people and entities, those are due
today. The chairman telling us tonight that the tens of thousands of pages
they have received include thousands from Steve Bannon alone.
Mr. Chairman, thank you. Appreciate it.
NADLER: Thank you.
MADDOW: All right. Much more ahead tonight. Stay with us.
MADDOW: Tonight, “The New York Times” is out with a brand new, 4,000-plus
word piece on President Trump and his relationship with Deutsche Bank,
which is one of the most interesting mysteries of the Trump scandal era.
This new piece from David Enrich is based on interviews with more than 20
current and former Deutsche Bank executives and board members. His new
reporting shows, among other things, that Deutsche Bank appears to have
played along as the president engaged in something that Michael Cohen
alleged was bank fraud, inflating his assets in a financial statement, so
that he could get money from Deutsche Bank, to make a bid for the Buffalo
Bills NFL team.
Why would they go along with that knowing he was lying to them about his
assets? But that`s kind of just the foam on top of the beer here. There
is a lot more.
Quote: Over nearly two decades, Deutsche Bank`s leaders repeatedly saw red
flags surrounding Mr. Trump. There was a disastrous bond sale, a promised
loan that relied on a banker`s forged signature, wild exaggerations of Mr.
Trump`s wealth and even a claim of an act of God.
However, quote: Time after time, with the support of two different chief
executives, the bank handed money, a total of well over $2 billion to a man
whom nearly all other banks had deemed untouchable. We know how much this
relationship benefitted President Trump, right? After all he was on the
receiving end of $2 billion worth of loans. But what was in it for
Deutsche Bank? Why do they keep doing this?
Joining us now is David Enrich, the reporter behind this piece. He is the
finance editor for “The New York Times”. He`s also the author of the
forthcoming book about Deutsche Bank. Mr. Enrich, congratulations this
piece, thanks for coming in.
DAVID ENRICH, FINANCE EDITOR, THE NEW YORK TIMES: Thank you. My pleasure.
MADDOW: It`s a lot to summarize because there`s a lot of detail here. You
can tell me what people should take as the sort of big picture?
MADDOW: Is it something other than that? Why are they doing this question
that I just –
ENRICH: I think the why are they doing it question is exactly the right
one. And I think the fact that all these other banks refused to touch him,
but that Deutsche Bank was eager to embrace him, in fact, that`s exactly
the right question. It speaks to a lot of other problems that Deutsch Bank
is having and it speaks to a lot of the reasons that Donald Trump is now in
the crosshairs of investigators in Washington and up in New York.
MADDOW: I know you have done a lot of work on Deutsche Bank in general. I
guess – I know very little about banking. I don`t think I could have
pronounced Deutsche Bank and I`m probably mispronouncing it now.
ENRICH: You are doing all right.
MADDOW: Were it not for the Russia scandal and the follow the money type
investigations that are happening here, but from your understanding, is
Deutsche Bank just this kind of a bad bank and make these seemingly
inexplicable bad or disastrous deals with all sorts of people who fit the
profile or do they treat him specially?
ENRICH: Well, they do threat Donald Trump specially. I mean, he became a
big priority for the bank over the past 20 years. He was making a
tremendous amount of money for the bank, in fact, and he was helping the
bank burnish its reputation. They would host golf tournaments and Donald
Trump would be one of the celebrity participants. They filmed a
promotional interviews, Donald Trump and sometimes Ivanka would be stars of
those interviews boasting about what a great relationship they had with the
But Deutsche Bank also has a long, very pronounced history of lending to
clients that turn out not to be very smart and sometimes engaged in
criminal experiences. They have been involved with Russian money
laundering. They`ve been involved in all sorts of market manipulation.
These are crimes.
The banks admitted to crimes. Its employees admitted to crimes. And so,
in that context, it`s not – every big scandal they seem to be right in the
middle of it financially. And so, it`s not a huge surprise that when it
comes to financing someone who is completely off-limits for most of the
mainstream banking industry and almost all of Wall Street that here right
in the middle of it is Deutsche Bank.
MADDOW: One of the things that I have never really understood about that
dynamic that you just articulated there, though, is that while I can see
the bank thinking of Trump as an excellent promotional opportunity, and as
a celebrity that I`d like to be associated with and somebody who is worth
extra risk because they can make some money some other way, does doesn`t
that dissolve when his bond project he defaults on a year after they issue
all those bonds, I mean, he wasn`t always making money?
ENRICH: No, it`s really incredible and this remains a bit of a mystery to
me as why Deutsche Bank, why any rational actor would throw money after bad
MADDOW: Over and over again.
ENRICH: Yes. And one of the revelations here that I hadn`t realized until
relatively recently in reporting this is that there was a big loan that
Deutsche Bank made to finance this skyscraper in Chicago. Trump defaults
on that loan, and then sues the bank, blaming it for predatory lending
against him. And at that point, the bank completely stops doing business
for a couple of years anyway.
But even prior to that, it turns out there another instance that is pretty
similar, where Deutsche Bank gets hired to sell hundreds of millions of
junk bonds to finance a project. The bank is the only one who will do it,
and it successfully does it after trying really, really hard and Trump
rewards the bankers with a trip to Mar-a-Lago. And then a year later, less
than a year later, he defaults and that part of the bank said that`s it.
We can`t do business with this guy – and no one bothers to tell the rest
of the bank.
And so, part of the story is one just management dysfunction and a
corporate culture that rewards risk-taking but doesn`t punish losses. And
that`s not a good – those are not good traits to have if you are a big,
international company. And it sets Deutsche Bank up for this perfect storm
with criminal scandals involving money laundering, or market manipulation
and things like that, and that intersects around the same time with its
loan to Donald Trump.
David Enrich, the reporter behind this big new piece in “The Times”
tonight, “A Mar-a-Lago weekend and act of God: Trump`s history with
Deutsche Bank”, filling in a lot of the blanks for me on this. Thanks for
ENRICH: It`s my pleasure. Thank you.
MADDOW: All right. We`ll be right back. Stay with us.
MADDOW: When Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders got into the Democratic
presidential primary last month, he raised an unbelievable amount of money
right off the bat. The Sanders campaign announced he raised $5.9 million
in the first 24 hours. Just an unbelievable sum piled up by 223,000
different donors, just a wild showing, absolutely untouchable.
Well, now, we have a new one. Last week, former Texas Congressman Beto
O`Rourke announced that he is getting into the race. That news did not
come as much of a surprise, but this did. Former Congressman O`Rourke`s
campaign said he raised $6.1 million and change in his first 24 hours,
which is 200 grand more than the previously untouchable first day fund-
raising of Senator Bernie Sanders.
So, it appears that nobody else in the field has even gotten close to those
kind of numbers. Senator Kamala Harris got a million and a half in his
first 24 hours, and that floored people. Amy Klobuchar cleared a million
over his first two days. The impressive mayor of South Bend, Indiana,
Mayor Pete Buttigieg, says he has received donations from 65,000 people,
which means that`s enough to qualify for the debate, but I don`t know what
he`s gotten in terms of the bottom line.
And, you know, a couple of things. Number one, it`s a race, obviously, to
be first. But it`s also obviously that a lot of these people are when
you`re combining them, a lot of these people are putting together numbers
that make you realize what kind of money there`s going to be in the
Democratic primary in total, right?
If you combine all of these numbers and you think about how much Democratic
enthusiasm there is and how that might ultimately redound to the ultimate
nominee, big numbers are good for Democrats in general regardless of what
it means about the competition among them. But also, you know, who knows
how all of this comes out and whether gigantic first day fundraising hauls
matter in the long run, or whether early polling matters in the long run,
what`s going to matter in the long run.
I mean, I will say up until now, I sort of felt like I have been watching a
hockey game without my glasses on. I can`t see the puck and I can`t tell
what`s going on. And so, therefore, I`m not interested. Now, we`re
getting enough into it, and enough interesting stuff is happening and the
competition is getting interesting and now, it`s getting fun to watch. I`m
into it. I`ll admit it.
MADDOW: The first girl who came forward was only 14 years old. And she
told her parents and the police that a man named Jeffrey Epstein had
molested her when she went to his Florida mansion. What police found after
she came forward, that 14-year-old girl, were dozens of young girls who had
basically the same story about Epstein.
Some of the victims were as young as 13. Based on those accounts from
those brave girls and young women, the FBI prepared more than 50 pages
worth of criminal charges against Epstein for being a serial child sex
offender. If convicted of those charges, he could have easily spent the
rest of his life in federal prison.
Instead, the federal prosecutor, the U.S. attorney working on that case, he
gave Jeffrey Epstein something called a non-prosecution agreement which
granted Epstein immunity from all federal charges. Rather than take him to
court on the 53 pages of child sex crime charges, then U.S. attorney, now
Trump labor secretary, Alex Acosta, let Jeffrey Epstein instead plead
guilty to just two state prostitution charges. And of those two crimes he
was allowed to plead guilty to in state court, only one of them involved an
under age girl.
Last month, as we reported here on the show, a federal judge ruled that
Alex Acosta broke the law when he made that non-prosecution deal with
Jeffrey Epstein, specifically because Acosta kept the deal hidden from
dozens of victims who came forward who had a right to know about the
proceedings in that case. That not only, you know, looks bad for a sitting
cabinet official, a federal judge official ruled that it is bad, right?
This is a federal judge ruling that a sitting cabinet secretary broke the
law at his last federal job.
Oh, and by the way, it had to do with a child sex offender. Now, it`s
gotten worse though. Remember, Alex Acosta agreed to let Jeffrey Epstein
plead guilty to only one sex crime that involved an underage girl. The age
of that girl in that crime that he was allowed to plead to, that`s never
been revealed in the court record, but in this new reporting from “The
Washington Post”, we learned, quote: The only minor Epstein was convicted
of soliciting was 16 years old at the time the offenses began.
They had him pled to a crime involving a 16-year-old. Remember, the very
first victim to tip off police to what Jeffrey Epstein was doing was 14.
And some of the victims were as young as 13.
But when Alex Acosta put together that sweetheart plea deal, the non-
prosecution deal with Epstein for all federal crimes, the deal – he had a
53-page indictment worth of stories from 13 year olds and 14 year olds and
15 year olds who all said Epstein molested them when they were kids. But
Acosta instead made this deal where Epstein only had to plead guilty to a
crime involving just one underage victim, not one of the 14-year-olds, not
one of the 13-year-olds, not one of the 15-year-old, he pled guilty to a
crime involving someone who was 16 which under the law in some places is
not quite as bad, it turns out, has real some tangible, positive effects on
Jeffrey Epstein`s life thereafter.
This is from “The Post” again today. Quote: The age of consent is 16 years
old in more than half the states in the U.S. the decision, meaning, quote,
the decision to charge Epstein with a crime involving an older teen has
eased Epstein`s obligations to register as a sex offender.
For instance, in New Mexico where Epstein has a 7,600-acre property, he is
not required to register as a sex offender at all because his victim was
not under 16. His victim was not under 16. She was, but they didn`t.
That plea deal brokered by Alex Acosta, Trump`s cabinet secretary, means
that serial child sex offender is unburdened, less burdened by the laws
dealing with sex offenders in much of the country. He got a better deal in
jail, he got a better deal after jail, after striking that agreement with
Alex Acosta, which was illegal. And yet tomorrow morning, Alex Acosta will
report to another day of work as Donald Trump`s secretary of labor.
How is this not a bigger problem for Alex Acosta, let alone this White
Watch this space.
MADDOW: Because the news gods don`t give up and because following politics
in this era means following the search warrants every day, tomorrow, you
should you know that one of the things we are going to get unsealed by a
federal court is the search warrant for Michael Cohen when he was raided
last year by federal agents. We`re going to get the search warrant
unsealed and we`re going to get affidavits that went along with it, which
is usually FBI agents` narratives explaining what they were looking for and
why. There will be some obvious things redacted in these documents, things
like Michael Cohen`s e-mail address and his apartment number, but other
than that, we expect the stuff to be pretty fully public.
If there is something worth seeing at these documents, it may tell us more
about the overall investigation into Cohen and why the judge believed the
FBI had good cause to make the search. Keep your eyes out.
That does it for us tonight. See you again tomorrow.
Now it`s time for “THE LAST WORD” with Ali Velshi.
Good evening, Ali.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY
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Copyright 2019 ASC Services II Media, LLC. All materials herein are
protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced,
distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the
prior written permission of ASC Services II Media, LLC. You may not alter
or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the